T-Mobile announces 'Wi-Fi Unleashed,' promises Wi-Fi calling on all new handsets
At a special media event on Wednesday, T-Mobile announced its latest "Un-carrier" initiative in "Wi-Fi Unleashed," which has the company promising Wi-Fi call and text support with every new phone sold.
T-Mobile CEO John Legere told those in attendance that all new smartphones sold on the carrier's network, including Apple's upcoming iPhone 6 and iPhone 6 Plus, will be able to handle texting and calling over Wi-Fi networks.
As described by Apple CEO Tim Cook during Tuesday's iPhone 6 debut, Wi-Fi calling allows users to set up and place calls over a Wi-Fi network rather than connecting with a cellular radio tower. The higher bandwidth grants more headroom for so-called "HD audio" voice throughput and lowers network congestion in the area.
Further, the tech allows handsets to hop from one network to another. For example, a subscriber can start a call on Wi-Fi at home, then step outside where the call will continue seamlessly on T-Mobile's cellular network.
In addition to ensuring all new phones come with Wi-Fi calling capability, T-Mobile is introducing a dedicated hotspot device called the T-Mobile Personal CellSpot. The hardware includes support for 802.11ac, prioritizes voice calling for higher definition audio and can work as a regular Internet router.
T-Mobile's announcement comes one day after Cook revealed T-Mobile as the only wireless operator in the U.S. to support Wi-Fi calling for the iPhone 6 and 6 Plus. In June, Legere confirmed that the carrier's network would support iOS 8's Wi-Fi calling feature.